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Posts tagged ‘metacognitive strategies’

Day 9: Summarizing

So far we have seen how vocabulary, fluency, and phonics can impede comprehension. Now we are going to take a look at the inside thinking that happens. This is the metocognitive side of reading. Children need to be taught how to think about reading when they are reading. In other words they need to be thinking about their thinking.

Sometimes when a child is reading he/she ends up thinking about something else they are about to do, other than what they are engaged in. Or, a child is working so hard at figuring out the words, that there is literally no extra space available to think about his/her reading. Therefore, if we utilize some of the comprehension strategies when reading with our child, we will be able to guide them in how to know if he/she is understanding what is being read or if he/she is not understanding.

One of those strategies is summarizing. If a reader is understanding what is being read, then he/she is able to repeat what was read in his/her own words. A summary is just a couple of sentences about what was read verses a retell. A retell is when the reader tells you everything that they read. Sometimes in the beginning a reader needs guidance in this area. You can begin by summarizing your page and then having him/her summarize his/her page. Once your child becomes comfortable with this process you can have him/her summaraize at the end of the chapter.

If the child is able to summarize it shows the he/she is capable of storing the information he/she has read in his/her short term memory. This is extremely necessary in order to do a much more difficult comprehension strategy called synthesizing. As a parent it is not important to hit every single comprehension strategy that is out there. However, practice with some of the basic ones will prepare him/her for the higher level ones they will need to be able to implement as they move up in grade levels.

So, practice summarizing with your child, talking about the book that you are reading, and increase vocabulary by picking out one vocabulary word a day to focus on. Until next time, keep reading!

Vocabulary Building Strategies Walled Lake Michigan

A picture about the spring.

Image via Wikipedia

I was back in Walled Lake, Michigan again today.  I don’t know about you, but I am ready for Spring.  I can hear the birds and I am ready for the warmth.  I asked the kids in Walled Lake, MI today what they like best about the Spring.  Their answers included taking walks, riding bikes, and longer days.  I even had a little boy who goes fishing.  Some of the students live right on a lake.

The reason why we were talking about Spring was because we read the book Everything Spring by Jill Esbaum.  This is a National Geographic book that has some pretty amazing pictures in it.  It describes the weather, the outdoors, and baby animals.  What really brings my attention to this book is the ability to increase tier 2 vocabulary.  Beck and McKeown described three tiers of vocabulary back in 1988.  They described tier 1 words as words that everyone knows.  Tier two words are words that are what I like to call, juicy words.  Tier 3 words are content specific.

Some of the words in this book that I love are slumbering, tiptoes, nudges, unfurl, silken, and rippling.  These are what I like to call juicy words.  They are not words that we use in our everyday language and they are often the kinds of words that trip us up when we are reading.  They can confuse or they can clarify.

One of the strategies that I use when I am reading a book to a group of kids is to provide them with additional information about the words when I am reading them.  I finish the sentence and then I talk about the word to make it come alive.  In essence I am giving them more background information for them to understand the word.

Just by talking about words you can increase a child’s vocabulary.  However, a child needs to actually use a word 7 to 11 times on their own before it becomes a part of their vocabulary.  Therefore, it is important to get a child to use the word in their own contexts.

Currently I am tutoring a boy in Seattle whose main focus is on increasing his receptive and expressive vocabulary.  When we come across words that he does not know the meaning of we learn more about that word.  We go to for the definition, the synonym, and the antonym.  Then, we think of an example of when it would be appropriate to use this word.   We save these words on a PowerPoint and review them.  Then, I try to embed the vocabulary words into our conversations.  When a character is acting like one of the vocabulary words, I use complete sentences to explain that.

Take a listen to my skyping session with Ms. Bonds class to hear how I expanded on the vocabulary in the book.

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